6 November 2005
Two eggs, one basket
Or maybe four eggs, one basket: Tulsa Mayor Bill LaFortune has tapped SMG to manage both the Tulsa Convention Center and the new BOK Center arena. SMG currently manages the Cox Convention Center and the Ford Center arena in Oklahoma City, which, says Michael Bates, could be a problem:
[W]hen a major concert tour is going to make one stop in Oklahoma, you won't have a competition between the two cities to get the show instead SMG will decide, based on their bottom line.
I have to assume LaFortune was thinking that unless he got a brand-name management firm, Tulsa wouldn't get any of these events at all. Still, I'm wondering if Tulsa, or for that matter Oklahoma City, wouldn't have been better served if he'd sought out an SMG competitor: having the four largest venues in the state under a single management strikes me as at least potentially counterproductive.
Addendum, 9:15 am, 7 November: Tulsa Councilman Chris Medlock notes that the major competition was Global Spectrum, a corporate affiliate of cable giant Comcast. And Comcast, as a cable giant, is a competitor to Cox Communications, which runs the Oklahoma City and Tulsa cable systems, which owns a piece of the Tulsa radio market, and which has its name on the wall at Oklahoma City's convention center, managed by SMG. Did Cox ever-so-subtly point this out to Bill LaFortune?